What We Believe: Innovation through Teacher-Driven Collaboration

Teaching is our passion. It brings us joy. But, let’s be real: educating students day after day can feel like a heavy load to carry all alone. So, we found a group of like-minded educators to do the work together: The Writing Is Thinking Team. We believe that when a team of teachers aligns around a fine-tuned set of foundational beliefs, that team builds intentional, powerful, and teacher-driven collaboration. Our team, comprised of seven teachers, is diverse across content, experience, teaching style, and pedagogy. But, we all hold the same six foundational beliefs. And that’s what makes us work.

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Targeted Literacy Instruction: Guided Reading in the High School Classroom

There is a literacy crisis unfolding in high school classrooms across the city - too many students, especially our English Language Learners lack basic reading skills. Teachers: we know what this feels likes. We have too many students who enter our rooms lacking fundamental literacy skills. For example,  In our 9-10th grade classrooms, 66% of our students scored lower than a second grade reading level. However, we believe that this a crisis not just affecting our students but rather, a problem that is felt across the city.

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Twitter Chats and Edcamps: Innovations in Professional Learning

For my EdTalk, I chose the topic of teacher professional development (PD) because good PD is invaluable to teachers and their success and their willingness to stay with the profession. This year is my fourteenth in education, and both formal and informal PD have helped me develop so much. While I have been lucky to find great PD experiences, many educators do not feel that PD helps them become better teachers. They do not find that district-provided PD supports their everyday work. (In my presentation, I reference data on this topic from The Mirage, a 2015 report from TNTP.) While some find PD transformative, many struggle to find it valuable, and they stay isolated with their teaching struggles. Two new innovations in teacher PD hope to change that mindset.

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The Think Space: Educating the Heart and the Mind for Success Within and Beyond the Classroom

Reading what is referred to as the purple book: Helping Traumatized Children Learn, constructed by the Mass Advocates for Children in collaboration with Harvard Law School, changed my life - both personally and professionally. Specifically, it helped to inform decisions around my own practice and inspired me to do further research around the impact of trauma on learning and behavior. 

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R U A Math Solving Champion?

“R U A Math Solving Champion?” -- our problem-solving acronym at the Edward Everett -- grew out of a long history of school-wide  work around math problem-solving.  For years we have been giving daily challenges for homework to get students accustomed to more difficult multi-step work.  Our students tended to break down into the “haves” and the “have nots” -- those who could successfully engage with the problem, and those who were simply overwhelmed from the beginning. We adopted a whole-school template for problem-solving, but no matter how much we tweaked it there always seemed to be problem situations that the template just didn’t fit.

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